Self-Expression and Recovery

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Expressing yourself is so important, especially in recovery. Here are some modes of creative self-expression and how they help.

During active addiction, we often forego our creative impulses and self-expressive tendencies, as our substances of choice took over our lives. The truth is, we are all creative and self-expression is a necessary and enriching part of daily life. In fact, during active addiction, we can forget our sense of self and who we truly are, let alone how to express that inner self. Well, there are myriad ways to express yourself and once you start to use your own unique voice, you’ll never want to stop. Self-expression can be defined simply as an expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas. The way in which you express yourself is up to you. The options are endless. Some positive ways to express yourself include journaling and writing, drawing, painting, dancing or other physical movements, and many other hobbies.

Finding Your Unique Voice

Oftentimes when we enter recovery, we start to get to know ourselves all over again. We find our own unique voice and this is empowering, liberating, and hopeful. Our unique voices were perhaps swallowed up by our addictions or other unhealthy behaviors. Now that we’re sober and on the road to recovery, we can start to truly tap into our uniqueness. Ask yourself what makes you special? What do you truly like about yourself? You can access your own unique voice, which is your source of self-expression, through meditation, journaling, or other modes. Additionally, simply surrounding yourself with a solid group of friends in recovery will help you get to know yourself and your creativity on a more meaningful level. The sky is the limit! If you’re struggling to remember your unique voice, try thinking back to when you were a kid. Children are encouraged to be wild, free, and creative — playing all day and doing nothing but expressing themselves. 

Journaling and Writing

Journaling is a great way to access your inner voice and start to engage in daily self-expression. Journaling helps us increase creativity, improve memory, and feel more self-aware. Writing down your feelings, thoughts, and ideas will lead to an improved sense of self and a heightened ability to communicate. Additionally, writing short stories, essays, or poems is a wonderful way to engage your mind, learn, and start to express yourself in healthy and generative ways. The key to true self-expression is to let go of censoring yourself and embrace freedom. You can try to write a “stream of consciousness” style, where you let the words flow directly from your mind onto the page. This will help you find your flow and from there, you can hone your creative writing rhythm. 

Drawing and Painting

Drawing, painting, sculpting, or any other kind of visual art are classic ways to engage your creativity and start to express yourself. Oftentimes, what’s hard to say in words might be easier to say with images. Visual art is a wonderful way to engage your senses, boost your creativity, and express your emotions in healthy, constructive ways. 

Dancing and Other Physical Movement

Dancing and other physical movements such as yoga, tai chi, walking, running, or boxing are great ways to get in touch with the body and feel into your creativity. Try taking a class or simply dancing it out in your room with your favorite song playing. Feeling the mind-body connection is an essential part of self-expression and awareness. 

Spending Time in Nature

Nature is the original creative force and we have a lot to learn from it. In fact, humans are part of nature, although we often forget this essential fact. Therefore, when we spend time in nature, whether at the beach, in the mountains, or in the forest, we’re gaining access to our essential core. We’re getting back to basics. Hiking or simply lying on the beach and listening to the ocean will help boost your creativity, clear your mind, inspire you, and set you up for healthy self-expression. Oftentimes, when our minds are cluttered and we’re constantly bombarded with technology or daily tasks, we forget to take a deep breath, relax in nature, and get creative.

New Hobbies, New Expressions

The key to creativity and self-expression is mixing it up. In recovery, we have the chance to figure out what we’re truly passionate about and try lots of new, healthy activities. Whether you’re interested in sports, dancing, yoga, hiking, chess, or reading, trying new activities is an amazing way to get out of your routine and start to express yourself in new and surprising ways.

Accept Yourself

Above all, remember to accept yourself and your journey. Try not to judge the way you express yourself, as this only serves to dim your light. Instead, try to learn from your past mistakes, stay curious about your interests and the world around you, and accept the truth that we are all creative beings who deserve to express ourselves in unique and healthy ways. 

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.

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